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Crews relocating fish as they prepare to begin work on dam at Lake Watonga 

Things are going to look a lot different at Lake Watonga in just a few days after they drain all of the water to fix the dam that is holding all the water back.They are going to start draining the man-made, 37-acre lake in the next week. Before they can do that, though, they have to transplant the fish.“Last week and this week, we’ve been setting nets here at the lake, trying to get out as many as we can,” said Chas Patterson, with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’ve also been electro-fishing so we can get some of the bigger bass out of the lake.”Patterson told KOCO 5 that they have been able to remove over 1,000 fish and place them in other lakes in the area so they can begin fixing the issues with the dam that started years ago.“The primary spillway, the pipes in the dam failed about four to five years ago, and started washing out the backside of the dam,” he said.Even with the precautions they have taken over the last several years, there was still the potential for the dam to break, which would have led to other more serious issues. So, it’s time for a permanent fix.“We are going to rehab the entire dam,” Patterson said. “Both spillways and emergency spillways will be redone and re-armored, and that will ensure the lake for the next 50-plus years.”The repairs will help protect it against a 500-year flood, and the work should be done by the end of July.

Things are going to look a lot different at Lake Watonga in just a few days after they drain all of the water to fix the dam that is holding all the water back.

They are going to start draining the man-made, 37-acre lake in the next week. Before they can do that, though, they have to transplant the fish.

“Last week and this week, we’ve been setting nets here at the lake, trying to get out as many as we can,” said Chas Patterson, with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’ve also been electro-fishing so we can get some of the bigger bass out of the lake.”

Patterson told KOCO 5 that they have been able to remove over 1,000 fish and place them in other lakes in the area so they can begin fixing the issues with the dam that started years ago.

“The primary spillway, the pipes in the dam failed about four to five years ago, and started washing out the backside of the dam,” he said.

Even with the precautions they have taken over the last several years, there was still the potential for the dam to break, which would have led to other more serious issues. So, it’s time for a permanent fix.

“We are going to rehab the entire dam,” Patterson said. “Both spillways and emergency spillways will be redone and re-armored, and that will ensure the lake for the next 50-plus years.”

The repairs will help protect it against a 500-year flood, and the work should be done by the end of July.

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